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Netherlands suspends use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

Amsterdam: The Netherlands on Sunday said they had suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine till March 28 after ‘possible side effects’ were seen in Denmark and Norway.

On the basis of new information, the Dutch Medicines Authority (MEB) has advised, as a precaution and pending further investigation, to pause the administration of the AstraZeneca corona vaccine, the Dutch government said in a statement.

According to the statement, the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used in the next two weeks, until March 28.

These are complaints other than the limited number of reports of thrombosis after vaccination, on which the MEB based itself for this weekend. The MEB indicates that a total of six new reports of possible side effects have been received from Denmark and Norway. These are serious, rare signs of clot formation (thrombosis) and a reduced number of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) in adults under 50 years of age. No similar cases are currently known in the Netherlands, it added.

“The crucial question is whether it concerns complaints after vaccination or caused by vaccination. There should be no doubt about the vaccines. I think it is very important that the reports are properly investigated. We must always err on the side of caution, which is why it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution. I rely entirely on our experts for this,” Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said.

Earlier in the day, Ireland suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as new information emerged on blood clotting incidents in Norway.

On Saturday, the Norwegian Medicines Agency had said that more cases of blood clotting were reported in adults who got the shots of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Last week, other European countries, such as Denmark, Iceland and Norway, too had suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after Austria said it was investigating the death of woman, who took shot of the vaccine.

Last Monday, Austria announced to suspend the use of AstraZeneca vaccine after the nurse’s death.

AstraZeneca on Sunday said that it had found no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from its COVID-19 vaccine after carrying out a review of safety data of more than 17 million people who got the vaccine across the European Union and the United Kingdom.

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